A recent study found that 75.1% of millennials are opting for will-based estate plans and 18.8% are using a trust-based estate plan. The new study from digital estate planning firm Trust and Will, of about 23,000 individuals aged 25 to 44, also found that the most common trigger to […]
How to Go Paperless With a Family Document Organizer
From marriage licenses to medical records, every family has important documents that they need to keep safe. Storing paper copies of these documents at home has been the go-to method for decades.
However, if you’re wondering how to organize important documents at home, you should be aware that there are some downsides to relying on paper documents. Paper documents are:
Prone to physical damage
Hard to locate in emergencies
Easy to lose
Difficult to share with loves ones
Benefits of Going Paperless
Going paperless allows you to transcend the limitations of paper documents.
Here are three of the most important benefits of going paperless:
You’ll Have One Trusted Location For All of Your Documents
Every family has a growing list of important documents to keep track of, ranging from tax records to birth certificates. It’s helpful to store all of these documents in one place. This way, you’ll know exactly where they are when you need them.
Going paperless enables you to store all of your documents in one secure, easily-accessible location, known as “the cloud.” If you’re not familiar with the cloud, it’s a global network of internet servers that offers scalable storage space and has made document management easier than ever. Unlike a computer hard drive that has a set storage capacity, you can increase your cloud storage space as needed.
Most importantly, you can access the cloud and your document management system from anywhere in the world, as long as you have an internet connection. For example, if your partner gets sick while on a family vacation, you can pull up their medical records for the doctor to reference. Likewise, if you’re at your attorney’s office, you can have all of your legal paperwork ready to go at the touch of your fingertips. No matter where you are, your documents are just a few clicks away.
You’ll Enjoy the Added Security of the Cloud
When it comes to storing your documents in the cloud, you may have some security concerns. According to a Pillar survey, 11.4% of respondents worried about identity theft. It’s important to realize that every cloud storage service offers a different degree of security.
At Pillar, we’ve made security the foundation of our service. Our cloud storage features the following safeguards:
Bank-level AES 256-bit end-to-end encryption
Multiple layers of security
Email alerts if unusual activity is detected
When you use Pillar, you can also rest assured that we’ll never sell or share your information with third parties. All of your paperless statements, tax documents, and even credit card information is protected. No one can access your documents besides you—not even Pillar employees or government entities. With Pillar’s top-notch security, you’ll enjoy complete confidence that your documents are safe.
You Can Share Documents With Family Members at Any Time
Privacy is imperative, but sharing access with your loved ones is too. In fact, it’s why we started Pillar. Our founder, Michael Bloch, was inspired to create a family document organizer after his mother was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder. During this health crisis, he struggled to find her important documents when it mattered most.
By going paperless with Pillar, you can make sure you never go through the same predicament. You’ll be able to access your family members’ documents with ease, whether you’re at the hospital by their side or halfway across the world.
If someone else in your family needs access to their documents, you can share it with them in a few simple clicks.
More Benefits of Digitizing Documents
According to our survey, over half of our respondents said that the previous three benefits of going paperless were the most important to them.
However, these aren’t the only benefits of going paperless. Here are a few more:
You Can Access Documents From Your Phone or Computer
These days, we can do just about anything from our devices, including:
Catching up with loved ones across the country
Calling ride-share services
Streaming the latest TV shows and movies
With everything else making its way into the digital space, there’s no reason why document storage should lag behind. Accessing your important documents should be just as easy as completing an Amazon order or checking your online bank account balance. When you store your documents on Pillar, it is.
Pillar can bring your document storage to the digital age. In turn, you can enjoy the modern convenience of accessing your documents from anywhere, any time.
You Can Reduce Your Impact on the Environment
Did you know that 40% of the world’s commercially cut timber is used for paper production?
Anytime you can cut back on your paper consumption, the planet will thank you. Shifting to a cloud-based storage system is a simple way to reduce your impact on the environment.
As an added benefit, you’ll no longer have to worry about how to organize paper clutter since you won’t have any.
You Can Preserve Your Documents in Case of an Emergency
Speaking of the environment, each paper document in your possession is always vulnerable to environmental threats, including:
In the event of a natural disaster, your physical documents could be destroyed unexpectedly.
By going paperless, you’ll always know that your most precious documents are protected from the elements, preserved in pristine condition in the cloud with Pillar’s online document management system.
You’ll Never Have to Worry About Losing Your Documents
Twenty-four percent of our survey respondents have requested a copy of an important document at some point in their lives. If you only have physical copies of your documents, you could find yourself in the same position. While you can always request a new birth certificate or Social Security card, the process is often tedious and time-consuming.
By going paperless, losing documents will be one less thing you need to worry about. Each of your documents will be safe and sound in the cloud.
What Important Documents to Keep in Your Family Document Organizer
Now that you know the value of going paperless, you may be wondering, “what important documents should I keep in a family document organizer?” The types of paperless documents you might want to keep could be endless.
Here are the three main types of documents you’ll want to upload:
From your family’s IDs to your parents’ estate plans, legal documents are very important to store securely. Your collection of legal documents may include:
Social Security cards
Power of attorneys
Estate plans and Trusts
Whether you’re caring for an elderly parent or seeking to implement their last wishes, it’s important to have their estate plans easily accessible and securely preserved.
With Pillar, you can store all of these legal documents and share them with doctors, attorneys, and other family members as needed.
In the event of a medical emergency, you always want to be able to access your family’s medical documents, including their:
Doctors’ contact info
Health insurance records
Healthcare account information
At Pillar, we make it easy for you to upload and categorize all of your family’s health records after scanning. If you need to pull them up in a medical emergency, they’ll be in the cloud ready to go. In turn, you can ensure that your loved ones get the medical care they need.
Whether you run a business, are planning for your retirement, or simply want to keep track of your finances, Pillar can help.
Our family document organizer is the perfect place to store your:
Online banking passwords
When tax season rolls around, you’ll have everything you need all in one place, clearly categorized and labeled.
If you need to share your financial information with a financial advisor, accountant, or family member, you can do so on Pillar in a few easy steps.
Who Needs a Family Document Organizer and Why Use One?
Everyone can benefit from having a family document organizer. No matter how old you are, your important documents deserve a safe, secure storage location. Pillar provides just that. It’s time to say goodbye to paper records and hello to a paperless workflow.
Here’s how Pillar serves different age groups:
If you’ve just had a baby, Pillar can help you keep track of your newborn’s birth certificates, vaccination records, electronic statements, and medical information. As your little one gets older, you can update their Pillar information with ease. With cloud storage, you can also increase your available storage space to meet your growing family’s needs. Best of all, your Pillar account will move seamlessly wherever life takes you and your family.
If you’re entering middle age, a family document organizer can make caretaking for your aging parents much easier. It will allow you to access their medical information in an emergency and to stay up to date on their estate plans.
If you’re in your golden years, participating in a family document organizer can make the caretaking process easier on your loved ones. You can also update your wills and trusts as needed. Best of all, you won’t need to search around your house for important documents anymore because every electronic document will be accounted for.
Why Some People Are Hesitant to Go Paperless
Despite the many benefits of going paperless, some people haven’t made the shift yet.
Here are their reasons, according to our survey:
They prefer to keep track of their documents themselves
They don’t think it’s necessary to organize their documents
They don’t think they need a family document organizer
They’re afraid of identity theft
Why You Should Use a Family Document Organizer
If you prefer to keep track of your documents yourself, it’s important to realize that a family document organizer allows you to do just that—just with improved accessibility, security, and shareability. The paperless process is easy.
Others shy away from using a family document organizer due to security concerns. As you now know, Pillar goes above and beyond to keep your information safe. Our cloud storage is arguably much safer than your current storage location.
Lastly, even if you don’t think organizing your documents is necessary now, you may it in a stressful situation. Getting your documents in order now can save you and your loved ones a lot of stress and hassle in the future.
How to Store Family History Documents Safely
If you’re wondering how to organize important family documents optimally, using a family document organizer is the clear choice. Despite this, only 6.5% of our survey respondents said that they’ve digitized their documents and store them online. The rest of our survey respondents said that they currently store their documents:
in a home safe
In a safe deposit box
In a folder
In several different locations
Thirty percent of these respondents also reported that their documents are not easily accessible. Since over half of the respondents said that they need to look for documents at least once a year, this inaccessibility poses a real problem.
By upgrading your document storage with a family document organizer, you can prevent these problems for your family once and for all.
How to Organize Your Family Documents With Pillar
If you’re ready to simplify your document storage, consider joining the 6.5% of people who are already using an online storage solution.
If you’re wondering how to go paperless with Pillar, just follow these simple steps:
Set up a Pillar profile for you or a loved one
Setting up a Pillar profile is easy. All you have to do is add your email, and we’ll walk you through the rest of the process step-by-step.
Add your documents
Once your Pillar profile is set up, you can start uploading your documents. To do so, simply take a photo of them with your smartphone or scan them to your computer. After that, you can send them directly to your Pillar account via text or email.
Organize your documents
If you’re wondering how to organize digital documents, don’t worry. It’s very easy to do on Pillar. We’ve even created categorized document checklists to help you organize your documents and ensure that you upload all the ones you need.
Invite your family and loved ones to collaborate
Once your Pillar account is ready to go, you can start inviting family members and loved ones to collaborate. Pillar allows you to create an unlimited number of plans for different family members. All you have to do is send them an invitation via email.
As you can see, using Pillar is easy. Now that you know how to store important documents with a family document organizer, you can upgrade your system and take advantage of all the benefits of going paperless. Most importantly, your family can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having shareable, secure documents at the touch of their fingertips.
Dangers of do-it-yourself estate planning
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In response to COVID-19, financial services firms and online companies are offering a variety of self-made digital estate plans. These low-cost plans entice anxious families to explore these options in an effort to avoid the expense of an attorney. Not everyone has the ability to correctly prepare their own documents even with the convenience of the templates offered online. Others, who try on their own, could create problems rather than solutions. It is not easy to correctly prepare estate planning documents without the aid of an attorney, but it is easy to make significant mistakes which can be costly to correct or cause irreparable damage.
One of the most common mistakes involves the misinterpretation and misunderstanding of legal terms and their significance in legal documents. What is “issue”? What are “heirs at law”? What do “per capita” and “per stirpes” mean? Oftentimes, incorrect assumptions are made about the meaning of these words and others or they are ignored and dismissed as “legal jargon”, inadvertently leading to an estate plan contrary to the intent of the grantor or testator, such as leaving assets to unintended beneficiaries.
In like manner, the disinheritance clause and no-contest clause, while often very important, are frequently misconstrued. Additionally, in self-drafted documents, the language explaining why certain people are not included is absent, consequently increasing the chances of litigation after the grantor’s or testator’s death.
Similarly, the language used by online companies or clients themselves is often vague and unclear, resulting in unnecessary conflict and, frequently, in litigation that was intended to be avoided and could have been avoided if the estate planning documents were correctly drafted by an attorney in the first place. Likewise, a failure to tailor the estate plan in accordance with the particular state’s laws can lead to mistakes and unintended financial and personal consequences.
It is not uncommon that online or self-drafted documents fail to appreciate the various tax implications involved in a client’s estate or fail to consider all the issues associated with minor beneficiaries. Also, frequently, while changing a provision in a document, a change is implanted only in one part of the document, leaving other parts of the document impacted by this change unrevised and, subsequently, creating several probable interpretations and questions about the grantor’s or testator’s intent.
Online estate plans rarely contain all the documents that constitute a comprehensive estate planning portfolio. Similarly, it is very easy for an individual to fail to appreciate the role of each separate document and their importance and relevance in each specific case. For example, an online trust document might be missing a property schedule or the health power of attorney might not contain all of the individual’s wishes and desires.
Lastly, the online or self-execution of the estate planning documents often occurs without observing legal formalities such as notarization and the presence of competent witnesses. This absence of legal formalities consequently creates an invalid and inoperative document.
In today’s world, it is tempting to prepare an estate planning portfolio yourself or online. Be aware that by doing so, you might be creating more complications than resolutions. It is worth it to get your estate plan done right the first time by an attorney.